Furious over festival fiasco

Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m.

The owner of CannaFest said he wasn’t informed about a woman being bit by a dog on festival grounds and wants to extend an apology to her.

Kimberly Slater said a border collie, that was on a leash at the festival’s camp grounds, lunged at her and bit her.

Slater was left with three puncture wounds in her leg and was frustrated by the lack of response from first-aid staff at the festival.

But festival owner Chuck Varabioff said the first he heard of it was Wednesday morning.

“I was super surprised to hear today that it happened,” he said. “It is unfortunate it did happen."

Varabioff said he wants to extend an apology to her and wants to offer her a couple of tickets for next year.

“I know it won’t get rid of the pain or suffering she is going through but, as the CannaFest owner I would like to offer her something,” he said.

He added that himself, the dog owners and Slater can learn from this.

“Nobody brought this to my attention and I wish they would have, because I am never too busy to deal with situations like this, ever,” he said.

For the festival, St. John Ambulance staff are hired, but not on the camp grounds.

“We don’t provide first aid service in the camp grounds, but seeing this happened it might be an idea for next year to have a first aid booth right in the campground,” he said.

Varabioff added that each year is a learning experience for the next year.

ORIGINAL: 5 a.m.

A Kelowna woman was left with three puncture wounds in her leg after a dog attack over the weekend.

But she says staff at the CannaFest Music Festival in Grand Forks didn’t take her injuries seriously.

Kimberly Slater was enjoying the show when she noticed a border collie leashed to a fence in the campsite area of the festival. Being a dog lover, she asked if she could bring it a treat.

“I went to leave, and the dog lunged and bit me,” she said. “There are three puncture wounds, and I had to get a tetanus shot.”

She didn’t realize what happened until she saw blood running down her leg.

The owners were shocked and very apologetic. Slater said the two-year-old dog had to be muzzled. But what made Slater so upset was what happened next.

“The first-aid attendant wasn’t wearing any gloves, there weren’t any in the first aid kit,” she said. “She tried to put a bandage on with really dirty hands.”

Slater was disgusted and called dog control and an ambulance to take herself to the hospital.

When she tried to reach out to event organizers, she was told they were too busy.

“I just wanted to let him know about his staff and that thank god nothing else happened,” she said. “What if it was a kid that got bit? It could have been a lot worse.”

Slater hopes future staff get properly trained and points out the need for proper first aid staff at the campground.

On the website for the festival, it says no dogs are allowed.

“There should have been something in place to have that first-aid attendant better equipped,” said Slater.

Castanet has reached out to organizers for comment on the incident.


Not intended as monument

The man who created a controversial statue of John A. Macdonald says he's pleased it's sparking a conversation about the country's horrific treatment of Indigenous Peoples, but there should have been public consultation on its removal.

The John A. Macdonald Historical Society commissioned artist John William Dann to create a sculpture of the first prime minister in 1981. It was given to the city as a gift and unveiled at the front entrance of Victoria City Hall on Canada Day in 1982, he said.

Dann said he is unaware of any consultation on its installation at the time, but he believes it was "destructive" to take it down last weekend without hearing from the public.

"If you want to move it, let's talk about it," he said in an interview Wednesday. "If it must become a sacrifice to the anger and frustration that Aboriginal people feel, fine let's tear it down — I'll be the first to smash it to pieces. But let's talk about it."

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps announced last week that the city would be removing the statue because it serves as a painful reminder of the violence inflicted on First Nations at residential schools.

The action has sparked a national debate around how best to represent historical figures who made positive contributions to the country at the same time as sharing discriminatory perspectives more common to their time.

In 1883, Macdonald argued in the House of Commons for the removal of Indigenous children from their "savage" parents so they could learn the ways of white men.

Victoria's decision was reached by a council known as the "city family" that includes city councillors and members of local First Nations, following a year of discussion about how the city can best pursue reconciliation with local bands.

The sculpture will remain in storage until the city can figure out how to present it in a way that both celebrates Macdonald's contributions as Canada's first prime minister at the same time as acknowledging his harmful legacy in developing the residential school system, the mayor said.

Dann said he designed it not as a monument, but as a portrait of a man whose expression, "reveals something about all of us."

"It's not a sculpture on a pedestal, it's not a monument. It's a portrait of a man and that man is accessible to the people who go in and out of the building," he said. "It's not simply on a pedestal with a plaque, although that's the way most people still see it and I believe that's one of the reasons for this controversy."

Dann said it was his last such portrait because he realized that people tended to view it as a monument instead of recognizing it as art or a comment on humanity.

The way Canada has treated Indigenous peoples is "horrific," he said, and should be recognized.

But if the Macdonald sculpture is removed because of his role in the residential school system, Dann said he feared that would mean removing sculptures of almost every prime minister since him.

"Trudeau, Laurier, Mackenzie King. They all oversaw the support and the functioning of the residential schools. All of them," he said. "So let's be realistic about our history. Let's acknowledge it, let's be ashamed of it by all means. But let's be realistic."

Fisherman airlifted at sea

A military rescue helicopter from CFB Comox lifted an injured man from a fishing boat near Haida Gwaii on Tuesday.

The man was hurt in a fall on board the boat, which anchored in sheltered waters near Graham Island during the medevac operation.

Search and rescue techs from 442 Squadron lowered to the boat and lifted the fisherman to the CH-149 Cormorant helicopter.

He was taken to Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre.

– with files from CTV Vancouver Island


Serious risk to public safety

Abbotsford Police are warning the public about a dangerous gangster.

Even though he's just 19, Varinderpal Singh Gill's presence in the community "creates a serious risk to public safety," the APD says.

Gill is known to be involved in gang conflict in Metro Vancouver.

"The APD believes he poses a serious risk to other gang members in the conflict. He is also at risk of violence by other gang members," a police statement said, and bystanders could be in danger if violence erupts.

Anyone who sees Gill in a public place is asked to call 911 so officers can take steps to ensure public safety.

– with files from CTV Vancouver


RCMP join the fire fight

As the province declares a state of emergency due to intense wildfire activity in British Columbia, the RCMP has now been called in to assist with wildfire impacts throughout the province.

RCMP resources from across the province are being deployed to assist communities that are being most affected by fire.

“Fortunately, to date, our deployment of resources has remained less than what was required last year.  RCMP employees, specialized services and equipment are being sent to assist RCMP detachments in the communities that have been directly affected by wildfires, particularly within Central, Northern, and Southern BC,” says Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr, Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP.

Officers are being deployed to help man checkpoints as required, and provide relief to local RCMP detachments.

“While officers are being deployed to affected regions, core policing duties in the communities they originate will be maintained without interruption.  To support these efforts the BC RCMP Division Emergency Operations Centre has been activated in order to coordinated resource requests, logistics, planning, and support services including safety and wellness of our employees,” advises D/Commr. Butterworth-Carr.

As wildfire conditions across the province vary BC RCMP are asking for the public's help to ensure that everyone subject to an evacuation order or alert, or is travelling by check points to exercise caution and patience.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of all people in affected areas. We would encourage all people to drive safely and follow the directions of the emergency personnel.”

Remains in river identified

RCMP and the BC Coroners Service say remains found last month in the Fraser River are those of 23-year-old Laura Clark of Chilliwack.

Chilliwack RCMP say in a news release that Clark was reported missing to police on Aug. 3.

The release says it's believed Clark was last seen walking near the Agassiz Bridge on the evening of July 15.

Cpl. Mike Rail, spokesman for the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment, says investigators are looking to retrace Clark's steps leading to her disappearance.

He says police are interested in speaking to anyone who may have seen her between July 15 and July 25, when her remains were found.

She's described as five feet eight inches tall and 141 pounds with blue eyes and blond hair, and at the time of her disappearance she was wearing a pink shirt and black shorts.

Motorcyclist dies in crash

A motorcyclist has been killed in Vancouver's seventh traffic-related fatality of 2018.

Vancouver police say a 54-year-old Burnaby man died at the scene in a crash involving his motorcycle and an SUV.

It happened just after 6 a.m. on the city's west side.

Const. Jason Doucette says in a news release that the 64-year-old Vancouver man driving the SUV remained at the scene.

A section of busy West Broadway, west of Arbutus Street, was closed during the morning rush while police try to determine a cause of the crash.

Need a bigger crane

UPDATE 11:38 a.m.

Salvage crews will attempt to raise a sunken tug in the Fraser River off Vancouver this afternoon.

A larger crane and barge, along with specialized crews, had to be brought in to help bring the George H Ledcor tug from the bottom of the river.

Coast guard spokesman Dan Bate says the tug was to be lifted this morning, but that's been delayed until slack tide.

The tug, operated by the Ledcor Group, was hauling a loaded gravel barge when it went down Monday night, although the cause of capsizing is still unclear.

The vessel has the capacity to carry 22,000 litres of diesel fuel, but Bate says it's unclear how much was in its fuel tank.

ORIGINAL 7:43 a.m.

A larger crane and barge, along with specialized crews, are expected to go to work today in the Fraser River to lift a capsized tug from the muddy bottom.

The George H. Ledcor, a barge-hauling tug operated by the Ledcor Group, went down Monday night between Vancouver and Richmond, although the reason is still unclear.

An update issued on social media by the Canadian Coast Guard says its vessels stayed at the scene through the night and will remain in command while salvage efforts are underway.

The larger crane was ordered for safety reasons and Ledcor Group spokesman David Hoff says it is due to arrive around 9 a.m..

Hoff says there is no scheduled time for the recovery attempt, but naval architects and marine salvage experts will make that decision based on factors that include tides.

Divers plugged vents on the tug Tuesday, stemming the flow of oil into the river, but officials still have not said how much diesel was in the tug's 22,000-litre fuel tanks when the vessel went down.

A tweet from the coast guard says overflights revealed a "significant decrease" in the amount of oil in the water, but the Musqueam First Nation says one of the best salmon returns in years is underway and members are very concerned.

Serious injuries in explosion

A man is seriously injured following an explosion at his home Tuesday evening. 

At about 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 14, a home-made explosive device detonated in the 1400 block of Ross Avenue in Coquitlam. 

The RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit attended the scene and disarmed a second item of concern. 

Though he is facing grave injuries, the man involved is not facing any life-threatening issues. 

Coquitlam RCMP investigators are still working to find out the circumstances that led to the explosion, and the explosives unit will be working throughout the day with police to ensure the area is safe. 

Anyone who saw or heard anything that may help police determine what happened is asked to call the RCMP at 604-945-1550 and ask for the Investigative Support Team, file number 2018-25330.

State of emergency in BC

A provincial state of emergency has been declared in B.C. due to the wildfires. 

The state of emergency applies to the whole province and ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a coordinated response to protect the public. 

The state of emergency will be in effect for 14 days, and may be extended or rescinded as necessary.

"Public safety is always our first priority and, as wildfire activity is expected to increase, this is a progressive step in our wildfire response to make sure British Columbia has access to any and all resources necessary," stated Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "Taking this step will further ensure we can protect the public, property and infrastructure, and assist with firefighting efforts."

As of Aug. 14, there were 566 wildfires burning in B.C., with 29 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,050 people (1,521 properties), in addition to 48 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 18,720 people (9,359 properties). 

The extended weather forecast calls for continued hot and dry conditions, with a risk of thunderstorms in some parts of the province.

Currently, more than 3,372 firefighters and contractors are actively engaged in fighting fires in all fire regions of the province. This includes 1,427 B.C. contract personnel, as well as 436 out-of-province personnel from Alberta, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Parks Canada, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.

21 years of Shambhala

For 21 years, thousands of people have been making the journey to the Salmo River Ranch to get down.

The Shambhala Music Festival has grown by leaps and bounds since its first iteration in 1998, but it remains a homegrown event, still hosted at the same family farm without any corporate sponsorship.

The festival, which wrapped up its 21st year Monday morning, now attracts some of the biggest names in electronic music to the Kootenays. 

Before ever getting the chance to perform, Okanagan-based DJs Tyler “Stickybuds” Marten and Jason “JPOD” Danielson would help set up the Fractal Forest stage, volunteering weeks of their time to get the venue ready for the weekend.

From their humble roots, the two Shambhala veterans have since played the festival 14 times.

“We all started our careers here really,” Martens said. “It's a reunion every year, I've played all over the world and this is my favourite place to play, by far."

Danielson says the festival changed his life.

“The growth of Shambhala on the world stage of being a world-class, high-production festival, and those of us who were coming up at the same time as it, we kind of just grew together,” Danielson said.

“I owe a special kind of credit to Shambhala because it blew my mind and changed the trajectory of my life.”

After working on their sets throughout the year, seeing the crowd enjoying their art is the big payoff for the performers.

“You're in this space with thousands of people all vibing and connecting at the same time and that makes a really special feeling,” Martens said.

Danielson said three separate couples got engaged at his show this year.

“One of my core things that's important to me or just is fundamentally a part of my identity is making people happy and loving to smile and dance at the same time,” he said.

“There's been all these unintended side effects that are really humbling to me. Even some people with severe depression will be like, 'I listen to your music and it gets me out of my dark place.' I had no idea that was going to happen, but it's an honour.”

Lewd calls target women

Police in Victoria say they have received more than 50 reports of unwanted sexually explicit phone calls aimed at female employees of local businesses.

Police say the calls are happening in several jurisdictions and the department's major crimes detectives are also working with RCMP to find the person responsible for the calls that span British Columbia.

Investigators are asking those who get the calls to record them, if it's possible and safe to do so.

A police news release says investigators believe that the same male may be responsible for all the calls.

Police are also asking anyone who is contacted to make notes of what was said, specific words or phrases used by the man, and anything else that might identify a suspect.

They also want women to mark down the time, date and phone number of the call that comes in, if possible.

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